By Alyssa Shapiro, she/her
Imagine playing in the park with a toy lightsaber at ten years old and getting scouted for a sport that will change your life. The game you play will introduce you to the global stage as a world champion and Olympic fencer, and you’ll use your time on the stage—as Race Imboden has—to do more than speak about sports.
“Stay in my lane,” muses Imboden, the Team USA fencer in question, “I didn’t know I had a lane...I made a decision to fence when I was ten years old… It’s a game, it’s not everything in life. My Olympic medal sits in a drawer. But my relationships with people and the world around me…[are] drastically more important.”
Imboden, who is in Tokyo to compete in the summer Olympics, is referring to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to punish athletes who protest on the world stage—a decision he vehemently disagrees with, because according to him, protesting is about love. And when conversations between people who disagree about matters of social justice become contentious, he believes athletes are perfectly primed to bridge the gap between sides.
Watch his Beautiful People feature to learn more.
Developed, Produced + Interviewed by Alyssa Shapiro
Direction + Photography by Alex Kim Kenealy
Creative Direction by Cam Brocksen
Art Direction by Kimmie Torgerson